A Teen Died From Using Tampons and Her Mother Is Speaking Out

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When a woman gets her first period, she's often schooled in the ways of tampons, pads, panty liners, and everything in between. One thing that might not be talked about? Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), a rare but very serious infection that can be caused by tampon use. Now a mother who lost her child to TSS is speaking out in hopes that she can educate women on how to prevent this infection.

Diane Roberts' 13-year-old daughter Jemma-Louise began to feel sick last winter while vacationing with her family, and when her fever and nausea did not go away, she was rushed to the hospital. At the hospital, doctors found staphylococcus bacteria in her system, but sadly, by the time they identified TSS as the cause for her illness, it was too late, and Jemma-Louise died of a brain bleed. Now, in honor of National Sepsis Awareness Month, Diane is speaking out about how to identify that someone might be suffering from TSS.

Diane is specifically hoping to educate fathers about TSS, so that they may help identify it in their own daughters. She told the Manchester Evening News that her "husband had never heard of TSS" and that "if one dad reads this and his daughter falls ill, it could save her life."
TSS was first linked to tampons in the '70s, when super-absorbent tampons were commonly used. Tampons with a lower absorbency have since become the norm, reducing cases of menstruation-related TSS, but leaving in a tampon for too long (over six hours) or using one that is too absorbent for your flow can potentially lead to this rare condition. Symptoms come on suddenly and can include feeling faint, diarrhea, a high fever, and/or developing a sunburn-like condition on your body.

Diane's hope is that educating others will help save at least one woman from TSS. Her openness could help prevent many other mothers from suffering the same tragedy.

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